Recipes (Country Wines)

There are hundreds... no thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of winemaking recipes around. Some of them are very technical, others are easy to read and occasionally you'll come across a real gem. It is this last category we're really interested in. If you know of a very special one and you want to share it (we're all home/amateur winemakers) Please contact us.

Harry's Corner: Notes on Extraction Harry Gilham
Suggestions for Making and Drinking Stinging Nettle Wine George Wright
Herb Wines Byron Acton (1971 recipes)
Quantities of Base Material to make one Gallon of wine Harry Gilham
Herbs, Flowers, Grains and Leaves for Winemaking Harrry Gilham
Hay Wine (Dry) Harry Gilham
Lemon Balm Wine Harry Gilham
Basic Raspberry Wine George Wright
Flower Wines C. F. Lord ("Wine Recipes")
Grain Wines C. F. Lord ("Wine Making Recipes")
Six Months to Drinking Country Wines Harry Gilham
Harry's Corner: Notes on Extraction   
Written by Harry Gilham
Saturday, 17 July 2010 07:39

This is a very important stage of winemaking. Old books on country wine making used methods of extracting the juice by either boiling the ingredient or pouring boiling water over it and then fermenting on the pulp for a few days.

There are two disadvantages in this procedure as flavour is dissipated into the air by boiling, and secondly, in some ingredients such as apricots, plums, etc. the pectin in the fruit is extracted which makes the later clearing of the wine a difficult task.

Even today, boiling or the use of boiling water, is still the best way of dealing with certain ingredients, but generally cold water extraction with safeguards is very much superior. SO this leads up to examining

Town Water - when used in boiling activities, sterilizes actions on/in the base material(s). Spring Water - is made safe for use after it is boiled and cooled for use.Tanked Rain Water - needs filtering first then boiled and cooled before using.Distilled Water - is a big NO NO NO as it now lacks any trace elements and mineral salts. Always be aware that water dilutes acids and leaches out flavour, sugar body and nourishment.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 July 2010 07:44

Suggestions for Making and Drinking Stinging Nettle Wine   
Written by George Wright
Tuesday, 09 March 2010 08:40
George Wright is a Past President of the EDWG.

This is not a recipe but follows what I did. Notes give suggestions on how I could improve it next time. Just for the record, you don't get nettle stings on your throat when you drink it.

I used:
• One twenty litre bucket of stinging nettles fairly densely packed
• Water (20L)
• Sugar
• One large Ginger Root
• White wine yeast
• Yeast nutrient (DAP)
• Two 20L buckerts
• Two gloves
• One hammer

This pre-supposes you want to get rid of the nettles. Wait till after a good drop of rain to loosen the soil around the roots. Admire the green colour of the nettle patch. Vivid green...a pity to eliminate them, actually. Glove up! Up-root the nettles and cut off the roots for disposal. Place the nettles tops in two buckets (10L per bucket).

Note: If you like the green colour of nettles in your garden, top the nettles and leave the roots. As a rule of thumb, when making wine from things like nettles or grass only take the recent juicy tips, discarding the harder partly- lignified growth. If I do this again, I'll discard more of the lower parts of the nettles because I used all of the above- ground parts for my wine.

Heat 20L water and dissolve in sufficient sugar until the Baume is 12.5. (I wanted a wine of 12.5% alcohol). There is a scientific way of calculating this, but I'm always too use the Brix scale on your hydrometer . Bring to boiling and pour 10 L boiling water containing the dissolved sugar into each bucket of nettles.

Smash the ginger root with the hammer and throw the pulp into each bucket. The amount of smashing required is directly proportional to the extent you think your friends need to be smashed to take up your offer to drink some stinging nettle wine.

A teaspoon of yeast should be enough, but I always tend to give it a bit more to be safe. Re-hydrate the yeast and when cool add some of the liquid from a nettle-bucket (after it has cooled down) to the re-hydrated yeast to start to acclimatise it to the environment of the nettle mixture.

Wait one day, but don't know why. Many country wine recipes say to wait one day. I suppose I could make a learned statement about improving the extraction, but I won't.
Add one heaped teaspoon of DAP to each bucket (2x4gm). Pitch the yeast into each bucket.

Note: After a couple of days I tasted the developing wine and decided that it could do with a bit more ginger taste so I added some commercial dried ginger-root flakes and this improved the taste to my fancy.

When the ferment starts to slow down strain off the nettles and ginger-root pulp and discard. Place the wine under an airlock to finalise the ferment.
After the bubbles stop burping, rack off and add PMS (1/2 teaspoon to each bucket – 1.5gm) to inhibit any subsequent ferment in the bottle. Sweeten to taste.

Note: I sweetened with sugar but next time I might try glycerol (food-grade) for better mouth-feel as well as taste.
Bottle and label.

Note: I pity the commercial winemakers who are required by law to insert voluminous information on their labels. I feel unconstrained and have fun with each wine I make. In this case I made a label using an ancient form of Japanese poetry, Haiku. My interpretation of the essentials of the modern form of Haiku is that it is structured around three lines of verse in simple language with the syllables sounding pleasant. Each poem must have two unrelated subject areas and the Haiku is achieved by the listener relating those two subjects. I think I achieved a double Haiku with the poem on my label:

Stinging Nettle
Weed the garden
Recommendations for use of Stinging Nettle Wine:
Drink with bickies and Gouda cheese. It's sometimes difficult to match some Asian foods with wine. This one should go well with an Asian dish with a ginger-base flavour.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 08:

Herb Wines   
Written by Byron Acton (Reprint from 1971 recipes)
Monday, 08 March 2010 07:46

1 tablet Benerva (3 mg. Vitamin B1 tablet)
1 nutrient tablet or level teaspoon ammonium phosphate
1 teaspoonful Pectic enzyme (Pectinol, etc.)
Optional 1/4 teaspoonful Epsom Salts (only if your local water is "hard")

BALM WINE (Melissa officinalis)
Balm leaves 1.25 litres
White grape concentrate 1.25 litres
Sugar 0.5 Kg
Additives as above
Any wine yeast
1 packet of dried leaves can replace fresh leaves.


Place all the ingredients, in a plastic bucket, .top up to I gallon (4.5 litres) with cold water, stir well to dissolve and add yeast. Cover and ferment for 5 days on the leaves at a temperature of 70 Deg F. (21 Deg C.) approx. Strain off into a gallon jar, fit an air lock and ferment to conclusion. Rack into another jar, top up with water and fit a with a bung and airlock. Mature' for several months, with an occasional rack and topping up as before. The wine will, probably require sweetening before drinking.
Balm wine was used to reduce fevers by inducing perspiration (!)
BORAGE (Borage officinalis). used for chest complaints and fevers. Ingredients and method as for Balm vine, except that only I pint borage leaves required (1/2 litre ).

Other Herbs:
BURDOCK (Arctium Lappa). Used for blood purifying. Ingredients and method as for Balm wine, but quantity of burdock leaves is 1 lb. ( 0.5 kg. metric) or 1 packet of dry leaves.

BURNET (Sanguisorba officinalis). Used as an astringent tonic. Ingredients and method as for Balm wine except that 2 quarts of flowers arc required (2.25 litres)

COLTSFOOT (Tussilago farfara). Used for coughs. Recipe, is in Flower -wines section.

COMFREY (Symphytum officinalis). Used for chest troubles. Quantity of comfrey roots required are 5 roots per gallon. Remaining ingredients as for Balm, wine. The roots are washed, peeled and tut into small pieces and pulp fermented in the ordinary way as with the leaves in Balm wine.

DANDELION (Taraxacum officinalis). Used as a laxative (!) Recipes in section on Flower wine.
ELDER LEAVES (Sambucus nigra). Used for urinary irregularities. Ingredients and method as for Balm wine.

GOLDEN ROD (Solidago virgaurea), Used as a stimulant to promote perspiration. Quantity of golden rod blossoms required is a large double handful, or one packet of dried. 'Remaining ingredients and method as for Balm wine

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 March 2010 12:22

Quantities of Base Material to make one Gallon of wine   
Written by Harry Gilham
Monday, 08 March 2010 06:35

A compilation of quantities of base materials to use to make one gallon of wine (4.25 Litres) from a book by K. Linden (1973).
The British system of weights and measures in use in 1973 is still applied to this day in country wine making.

Apples 12 lbs
Apricots (fresh) 3 lbs
Apricots (dry) 2 lbs
Bananas 4 lbs
Blackberries 3 lbs
Black currents 3 lbs
Broad beans 4 lbs
Carrots 6 lbs
Celery 8 lbs
Cherries 8 lbs
Coffee ½ lbs
Gooseberries 4 lbs
Loganberries 3 lbs
Parsley 1 lb
Parsnips 4 lbs
Pears 4 lbs
Plums 4 lbs
Potatoes 4 lbs
Raisins 4 lbs
Raspberries 3 lbs
Rhubarb 6 lbs
Tomatoes 8 lbs
Turnips 4 lbs

Last Updated on Friday, 19 March 2010 21:29

Herbs, Flowers, Grains and Leaves for Winemaking  
Written by Harrry Gilham
Monday, 08 March 2010 05:56

A collation of ingredients suitable for Herb, Flower, Grain and Leaf Wines from a book by Len Ball.
The following is a list of some of the possible ingredients that could be used to make Herb, Flower, Grain or Leaf wines.
To make wine with these materials refer to the EDWG Country Wine Making guide or to the various recipes contained in the Recipes section of this site.

Garden herbs for winemakers
Lemon balm herb
Balm herb
Angelica herb
Chamomile flower herb
Coltsfoot flower herb
Dandelion flower herb
Elderflower herb
Marigold flower herb

o Spearmint (Mentha spicata or M. viridis)
o Apple mint (Mentha rotundifolia)
o Orange mint (Mentha citrate)
o Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
o Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens)

Flower wines
Hawthorn Blossum
Rose Petal

Grain Wines

Leaves and shoots wines
Oat leaf
Walnut leaf
Vine pruning
Bramble tips

Last Updated on Friday, 19 March 2010 21:31

Hay Wine (Dry)   
Written by Harry Gilham
Monday, 08 March 2010 03:12

Based on a recipe described by Eileen Harrison, Town Thorns Farm, Easenhall, Nr. Rugby, UK 
Mrs Harrison, known as an "inveterate experimenter" also made Christmas Cake Wine, as published in the British Amateur Winemaker. She also made Christmas Pudding Wine and Swine (from pig-meal) Wine, but her favourite was this Hay Wine which she developed herself.

Well washed hay – 1 lb
Camden tablet
Washed, minced wheat – 1 lb
Sugar – 2 ½ lbs
Minced raisins - 1 lb
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 oranges

Pour a gallon of boiling water onto the hay. Added crushed Campden tablet, cover and leave to soak for two days, stirring and pressing the hay occasionally.
Strain the hay onto the sugar dissolved in a pint of boiling water, add wheat, raisins, citrus juices, yeast and nutrient.
Continue standard wine making process over about three months with rackings until clear.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 March 2010 03:25

Lemon Balm Wine  
Written by Harry Gilham
Monday, 08 March 2010 03:10

Makes half gallon - 2.25L
Fresh lemon balm leaves – 2 pints
white sugar – 1 ½ lbs
chopped raisins – ½ lb - 250 gm
Juice and rind of 1 lemon (finely grate the rind to exclude pith)
Campden tablets – 2
Yeast nutrient
General yeast

Day 1:
o Neatly cut 2 pints measure of lemon balm leaves into measuring jug.
o In a saucepan add sugar, raisins, 3 pints of water and rind from 1lemon. Simmer for 15 minutes.
o Put leaves into bucket and pour in contents of saucepan. Stir.
o Stir in crushed Campden tablets and yeast nutrient and stir into bucket.
o Leave overnight to cool to 30o

Day 2:
o Add juice of 1 lemon and stir.

Day 3:
o Strain into fermentation jar
o Add a general yeast
o Keep warm until ferment stops.

Continue standard wine making process over about three months with rackings until clear.

Basic Raspberry Wine   
Written by George Wright
Monday, 08 March 2010 02:57

The following recipe was used during the 2009 EDWG Country Wine Making Workshop.
The workshop notes are the EDWG Guide to Country Winemaking Guide and provide good information on beginning Country Wine Making.

3 Kg Raspberries
2 Kg Sugar
6 teaspoons Pectinase
2-4 teaspoons Yeast (Red Wine)
Yeast Nutrient - Fermaid
4 teaspoons Citric Acid

Day 1
Unfreeze raspberries. Place in fermentation bucket and pour 6 litres of boiling water over them. Add sugar, dissolved in 1L very hot water, then allow to cool to at least 30 degrees C. Add pectinase and leave to stand for 24 hrs.

Day 2
Hydrate yeast (Flat tray with water at 37.5C. Sprinkle yeast on top. Do not disturb for 15-20mins. Let temperature fall to within 5C of that of juice and inoculate.
Add citric acid if required, yeast and nutrients.

Note: It is advisable to taste and measure pH of the unfermented juice before adding the Citric Acid. need to add acid if pH is below 3.4. Ultimately let taste be your final guide.

Days 3 - 4
Plunge cap of ferment twice daily (more if possible) for 4-5 days.

Day 5
Strain solids and discard. Place strained juice into two demijons under bubbler. Ferment to dry.

Every third Week (approx)
Rack off several times till clear. Stabilize with Camden Tablets ( 1 for 5L ½ for 2L) when dry

Before Bottling
Adjust final wine.
Bottle & Label

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 March 2010 04:14

Flower Wines   
Written by C. F. Lord (Reprint of "Wine Recipes"
Saturday, 06 March 2010 11:55

Additives FOR 1 GALLON (4.5 litres)
Essential 12 mg. Benerva (Vitamin B1 tablets)
1 heaped teaspoon citric acid (7 gm.)
¼ oz. tartaric acid (7 gm.)
½ teaspoon grape tannin or tannic acid
1 teaspoon ammonium phosphate or 1 nutrient tablet
Advisable 1 teaspoon Pectin enzyme powder
Optional teaspoon potassium phosphate
¼ teaspoon Epsom salts (it local water deficient in magnesium)
1/8 oz. succinic acid (if maturing wine for 2 years) (3 gm.)
Primrose petals 2 litre container
Sugar 1 kg
White grape concentrate 0.25 litre
Wine yeast Hack or Bordeaux
Additives as above
Water to 4.5 litres

Put the primroses in a plastic bucket, along with the sugar, grape concentrate and additives above. Pour on 6 pints (3.4 litres) of cold water. Stir thoroughly to dissolve sugar, etc. Add 1 Campden tablet (50 p.p.m. sulphite} and cover. Leave for 24 hours. After 24 hours add an active yeast, and ferment on the flowers for 4 days at a temperature of approximately 70 Deg F. (21° C.). Strain the liquid on the flowers into a gallon jar, and fit a bored cork with an airlock plugged with cotton wool. Raise the temperature, if possible, to 75' F. (.24' C.).

Ferment to dryness, i.e. the gravity should fall below the zero mark. Rack into a fresh jar, and top up with water, if necessary, add 1 Campden tablet, fit a bored cork tightly plugged with cotton wool. This wine becomes drinkable after a few weeks, but improves with maturing up to 2 years. The wine requires sweetening with up to 1/2 lb. sugar per gallon (225 grm. metric-6 oz. U.S.A.).

1 medium sized bunch of agrimony
Otherwise recipe is exactly as for Primrose wine. In view of the flavour of agrimony, it is advisable to make this wine into a sweet wine, by the addition of just over 1/4 lb. sugar per gallon once the wine has become stable.

1 gallon of gorse flowers (4.5 litres)
2.5 lb. sugar per gallon (1 kg. metric-2 lb. U.S.A. Otherwise the recipe is exactly as for Primrose wine. It is advisable to collect flowers with a pair of gloves in view of the prickly nature of this plant.

2 handfuls Golden Rod petals
Otherwise the recipe is exactly as for Primrose wine. This wine has a particular flavour which requires muting, and therefore it is advisable to mature, it for at least one year.

1 gallon of marigold flowers (4.5 litres)
Otherwise the recipe is exactly as for Primrose wine. Like Golden Rod wine this flavour is particularly pungent, and therefore requires at least one year's maturing to bring it to its best.

1 gallon of pansy petals (4.5 litres). Otherwise this recipe is exactly as for Primrose wine.

2 quarts of rose petals (2 litres)
Otherwise this wine is exactly as for Primrose wine. It should be mentioned here that if red petals are used the final colour of the wine will be a light rosé colour, so that for a white wine only white or yellow petals, should be used.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 March 2010 12:24

Grain Wines   
Written by C. F. Lord (Reprint from "Wine Making Recipes")
Saturday, 06 March 2010 11:25

Essential 12 mg. Benerva (Vitamin 11 tablets)
¼ oz. malic acid (7 gm)
¼ oz. citric acid (7 gm.)
¼ oz. tartaric acid (7 gm)
teaspoon grape tannin or tannic acid
1 teaspoon ammonium phosphate or 1 nutrient tablet
Advisable 1 Teaspoon Amylozyme 100 (from winemaking suppliers)
½ teaspoon potassium phosphate
½ teaspoon Epsom salts (if local water deficient in magnesium)
1/8 oz. succinct acid {if maturing wine for 2 years) (3 gm)

Pearl Barley 1 lb. (450 gms)
White grape concentrate 1 pint (300 mls)
Sugar 3 lbs (1,400 gms)
Any wine yeast
Water to 1 gallon (4..5 Litres)

Method: Put barley and sugar in a plastic bucket, and pour over 6 pints of boiling water. Stir to dissolve sugar; When cooled to room temperature (70 °.F., 21 deg C.), add grape concentrate and additives as above. Stir well to dissolve acids, and add active yeast starter. Cover and ferment on bailey for 6 days. Strain liquor off barley into a gallon jar, fit 4 bored cork with cotton wool or an airlock. Ferment to dryness.

With this wine this will be around t}-6° gravity. Rack into another jar, add 1 Campden tablet, and top up with cold water. Fit : a bored cork plugged with cotton wool. Mature for up to 18 months with rackings at 6-month intervals. Once wine is stable it may require further sweetening in order to balance the body and high alcohol content of this wine. It should be pointed out that this wine has a "kick" which also has a delayed action. This is definitely not a wine to be drunk if one is going to drive,

11 Ib. maize (680 gm. metric -1 1/2 lb U.S.A.) replaces Barley
Otherwise ingredients and method as for Barry wine MALT WINE
Ingredients: 2 lb. malt extract (900 gm, metric, 11/2 lb. U.S.A.)
replaces Barley.

Remaining ingredients as for Barley wine. Since malt extract is a heavy liquid, there is no need for pulp fermentation, and the ingredients can be mixed with lukewarm, water direct into the gallon jar. However, the yeast and the Amylozyme I00 should not be put in until the temperature has gone down to room temperature. Otherwise the recipe is as, for Barley wine. .


3 lb. rice (1.4 kg. metric - 2.5 lb. U.S.A.) replaces Barley. Husked rice is better than polished rice. Otherwise the recipe is exactly as for Barley wine.


1 pint wheat {1 litre metric - 4 pint U.S.A.) replaces Barley
Otherwise the recipe is exactly as for Barley wins.

Interesting variations of straight grain wines can be made by the addition of citrus (runs, or by flowers. For instance, the addition of the juice of 1 large grapefruit produces a barley and grapefruit wine which is an interesting aperitif. The addition of I packet of dried lime flowers makes an attractive wine with a bouquet normally absent from grain wines. Similarly other additions such as the juice of a large Jaffa orange can be added to produce changes from a normal straight grain wine.

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 March 2010 11:34

Six Months to Drinking Country Wine  
Written by Harry Gilham
Saturday, 02 January 2010 06:16

Harry Gillam is one of the EDWG leading maker, teacher and judge of country wines, and a well known and highly respected identity who along with his wife, Sue, has contributed much to the wider Eltham community. Harry, as a Life Member of the Guild has long promoted the crafting and consumption of country wines by running regular winemaking courses at the Eltham Living & Learning Centre over a number of decades, member tastings of his own wines at Guild meetings and through the judging of country wines in wine shows in various states.

The following are just a few ideas for the making of great country wines.
Sources of produce for winemaking

Fruit: Peach, pear, Greengage ‘wild’ plums, cherry, cherry and prune, quince, raspberry, redcurrant, rhubarb, rhubarb and beetroot, strawberry, banana, orange, apple.
Dried: Apricots, bilberries, figs, elderberries, mixed fruit, sultanas, apples.
Flowers: Dandelion, clover, cowslip, hawthorn, elderflower, honeysuckle, marigold, rose petal, hops.
Grains: Wheat, Barley. Rice.
Vegetables: Beetroot, carrot, parsnip, potato, broadbean, peapod, parsley, turnip
Others: Tea, coffee, clover, ginger
Wines for fortification with vodka
Elderberry port, barley, plum, apricot, elderberry, cherry, rice orange, blackcurrent, bilberry
Oak chips
Plum (two weeks)

Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 06:30

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